Bute Town Village - The People Who Lived Here
The population and employment of the residents has changed each decade reflecting changes in the fortunes of the Rhymney Valley as a whole. The Census Returns from 1841 to 1911 give us a wealth of information – we have worked with National Archives to bring you the completed forms and you can explore the returns more at www.Ancestry.co.uk – which is available free of charge at all libraries and County Archives across Wales (or you can set up your own account on Ancestry). Click on the decade above to explore in more depth – we have also included the Bute Town census sheets so you can examine the original information.
Bute Town was built with 48 “houses”. However, each decade the population and number of households changes. In 1871 the population reached its maximum with 434 but this dropped to a low of 195 in just 10 years (1881 census).
In 1871 there were 77 households as opposed to 39 households and 22 empty properties in 1881. However, in 1851 there were 66 households and 20 empty properties.
The early census returns simply show whether people were born in the county in which they were living. Bute Town was in Glamorganshire, however, it was only yards from 2 other counties - Monmouthshire and Brecknockshire, so even relatively local people could have been born in another county. Even bearing this in mind we can clearly see how in the early days the majority of residents were born outside of Glamorganshire, often whole familes moving from rural Wales in search of work. As decades passed, so the percentage of people born locally increased, becoming the majority in 1881. One of the most interesting birthplaces listed in 1881 is America where 8 year old Joseph Humphreys was born, although the rest of his family were born in Wales – take a look at 1881 for more information.
The census also gives us an indication of the main occupations of the residents – although it is often only the males who are listed. This information clearly demonstrates the way in which the Rhymney Valley changed from being an iron producing area, to it being a coal mining area – with a short “spike” when the railways were being built and there was an influx of additional workers – this coincides with the peak population in the village in 1871.
View across Bute Town on the edge of the South Wales Coalfield